Writing a Life Plan, Part 2

This is part of a series of posts to help you develop a life plan. I hear people talk every year about resolutions — some make them — some don’t. Some hate them — some don’t — most don’t.

I’m confident the main reason most do not keep them and many refuse to make them is that they never put a plan of action together or applied enough discipline that would ensure success. Why make a resolution if you can’t ever keep it — right? We don’t like continual failure.

The point of this series is to put some feet to the idea of New Year’s resolutions. Actually, even more than that, to write a life plan. In the last post, you were asked to list three to five goals you have for the new year. If you haven’t done that or didn’t read that post, start HERE.

If you have your goals listed, today we’ll get more specific with them. The key here is to further define your goals into something that is measurable; something where you can clearly track your progress and success.

To help with this part, ask the question for each goal:

  • What would success look like for this goal?
  • What would make me feel I’ve completed this resolution?

For illustration purposes, I’m using the same goals I listed in the example yesterday. First is the stated goal, followed by the more specific description of that goal:

Lose 10 pounds – I want to lose 10 pounds by (Insert realistic date here) by eating less and exercising more.

Improve my marriage communication – I want my wife and I to argue less about things, simply due to poor communication. I want to understand her better and find more times when we are on the same page without arguing to get there. I want us to be able to talk through issues without raising our voice at each other.

Pay off my credit card – I want to pay off $7,000 worth of debt by (insert realistic date here).

Read through the Bible – I want to be able to say I have read the entire Bible and finish all of it in 2011, without losing interest in three months. I want to read the Bible consistently throughout the year at least 5 days per week.

Write a book – I want to finish one of the many book ideas I have, have it completely written, and either have a publisher for the book or decide to self-publish.

Do you see the progression to a more measurable, specific goal here?

At times, while completing this second step it may redefine, shape, or even change the original goals. That’s okay — keep in mind this is your life plan — no one else’s. The hope is that you complete a plan this year that you are pleased with and that you make progress towards achieving your life ambitions — not that you complete it in a way that pleases others.

Again, the goal here is to take this in steps and make it simple. Next time we’ll take this another step forward.

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23 thoughts on “Writing a Life Plan, Part 2

  1. The challenge should bring out the best of you in this situation. Slow it down, think that process though. Develop that swagger in saying there's no way you're going to fail at this. If you develop that mindset, you'll get it done. Thanks.

  2. My husband, Casey, did a list of goals last year and it really gave him focus. He found your blog and you have guided him to write a GREAT list of goals for this year – and he needs it! He has started a non-profit in Africa and this needs to be a BIG action year, so thank you! I am so inspired that I'm doing one for my life too. Very challenging and intimidating but exciting. Thanks for the encouragement on our journey. BTW, we are missionaries serving in Cape Town, South Africa. Our blog is http://www.caseyandsarahafrica.blogspot.com. Blessings!

  3. That's a great post. I've challenged my Small Group to set individual goals for 2011 and this series is really helping me to direct the girls (and me as well) into thinking about priorities and discipline. We have also included the category "Ministry", encouraging each other to volunteer at our church. Thanks!

  4. At what point do you beat us with sticks? (Just kidding) I appreciate this, as I have a list of unmet goals from 2010 that I plan to take forward and complete in the new year. Without a plan, that is unlikely to happen, as distractions can easily take my focus off of the important and onto the urgent. Looking forward to Part 3.